Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 1, 2014

Hola Familia/Amigos

Well this week has probably been the most interesting week of my entire mission! I am not really too sure what is going on, and why we had such a week, but I know that this week is definitely going to be a lot better! There will be a lot of changes made to find more success, not that were not having success, just that fact that we are not satisfied with being good.... we want Great! 

Monday was probably the best day of the entire week, besides Saturday, and we have the least amount of hours to work on Mondays! We were able to get some good ol’ basketball in during our p-day hours! It was a lot of fun! I was able to knock out a few good letters as well! After P-day was over and we got back out on the streets we were able to teach a few great lessons! The Ramos family is starting to progress slowly but surely! It’s been kind of slow, but they’re going to do great! This last week we got them to promise that they would come to church on the 7th of September, we even had them sign a piece of paper with a little contract! Ha ha kinda funny! 

Tuesday was a little stressful! It was the first time I had to teach District meeting all by myself completely in Spanish! Things went really well, I enjoyed it a lot! We ended things on a super spiritual note with a large invitation! It went really well too! We talked a lot about the importance of getting our investigators to church on time, and helping them to realize why it is so important! So to end district meeting, I swung things another way! I asked all the Elders to do a Purification 40 day challenge! Here is the Story!  

Being Purified
(A letter Written by a Stake President to his children in the mission Field.)

One Day, a Member informed us that he had an investigator that was
ready to be taught and he volunteered to attend the first discussion.
The Discussion went along as usual. At the Conclusion my Companion and
I bore Witness of Joseph smith and then turned to our friend. He
Paused for a moment, look at the young lady and said, "I know that
Joseph Smith was and is a Prophet of God" The Room filled with an
Extraterrestrial force. The Investigator stared to cry.

As we walked home, I was baffled... That man said the exact same words
that we had said but the result was dramatically different. When he
spoke he has an influence that we did not have. There was no question
that the Influence was the Holy Ghost but this man seemed to have it
in a Different way. There was still something to be learned. I had to
find out what the secret was so I returned to the Scriptures. It
seemed like we were so close to being effective and yet we just could
not make it happen.

A Challenge to Purify!
After Several weeks of searching and praying, we attended a meeting
and heard a well-Known church leader. He spoke about the scriptures as
a source of Strength and about the process of Spiritual influence. His
words cause a burning in my Soul. When he finished his address, I
intentionally-Linger behind. When I was finally alone with this man I
asked him for a few moments of his time. I explained my desire to be
effective. I told him about the lessons I had learned. I told him that
something was still missing. Finally, I asked him if he could tell me
what is was.

He looked into my eyes and said nothing. Nearly a minute went by and I
began to feel very uncomfortable. Finally he spoke. He said " Elder,
when these pretty young ladies pass you on the street, what do you
think about?" Before I could answer, he asked "Do you ever speak
sarcastically to your Junior Companion?" "Do you get up at 6:30 a.m.
every morning?" "Do you keep every mission rule?"

His list of questions grew longer. Finally he said, " These are things
that keep the Holy Ghost from being your companion. If you want the
constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, then you must purify
yourself. I will tell you how to do it. Go home and fast for a day in
the attitude of fasting and prayer, make a list of every behavior that
pokes at your spirit. Once you have made your list, then go to the
Lord. Covenant with the Lord that you will fast from the things on
that List for 40 Days. In other words, for 40 days you will do nothing
that appears on that list."

"You cannot just stop the old behavior and start the new ones. You
need the help of The Lord, so each morning go to The Lord and
specifically Promise Him that you will start each Item on the List.
Ask for his Help so you can have extra Strength and then at night go
over your list with The Lord. If you failed on some items, figure our
why. Tell the Lord. Ask for the strength the next day. Go through the
process for 40 days. If you do, you will fid that your most basic
desires will change. Your spirit will flourish and the Holy Ghost will
become your constant companion. You will become an effective tool in
the hands of the Lord."

The Process of Purification

We went home determined to make the concept work. We began to fast and
we began to make a list. It proved much harder than we assumed it
would be. I would pray and then I would feel impressed to write down
some item. Then arguing that there was nothing wrong with the
particular thing. I would fight the impression.  For example, I felt
impressed to put golf down on the list. My response was, "there is
nothing wrong with golf. We only play on preparation day." I ignored
the fact that on the other six days my mind continually dwelled upon
how to play better. I wrestled with the spirit and then finally wrote
golf on the list. It is interesting that from the moment I wrote it on
the list, I experienced the most intense desire to play golf.
Everywhere I turned there was some reminder, some temptation to break
the commitment. So it was with each item on the list. Each day I had
to fight all my natural inclinations and turn to the Lord for the help
necessary to overcome myself. Sometime between the 30th and 40th day,
I suddenly realized that my desire for the things on the list had
disappeared. It was as if a great anchor had been cut from me.

The Process of Surrender

The last morning my companion and I knelt in prayer and then started
out the door. I was impressed to go back and again pray. With unusual
confidence I addressed the Lord "Father, these are they children. We
are now doing everything within our power to live the gospel. We turn
the burden over to thee. Please carry us the rest of the way."

The Gift of the Spirit

We went to our appointment. Halfway through the discussion, our
investigator began to make an excuse that he could not be baptized
because he did not believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I
interrupted him. "That is untrue. You do know that Joseph Smith was a
prophet. Your real fear is that your Mother will disapprove if you
join the church. In the name of Jesus Christ, I promise you that your
entire family will embrace the Gospel because of your courageous
example. The Lord wants you to be baptized now and it is necessary
that you comply." I never before had done anything like that. In fact,
I knew nothing about his Mother. He had hardly mentioned her. While I
could hardly believe what I had said, a familiar spirit filled the
room. This brother began to weep. He committed to be baptized the
following Saturday.

The experience repeated itself. At our very next meeting with an
investigator, there was a celestial manifestation and every one of them
was committed to baptism. In an eight-week period, sixteen people were
baptized. It was an unusual number for our mission. While the number
of Baptisms was Large, the truly impressive thing was the change in my
companion and myself. We were different people. Our most basic desires
and motives had been altered. Credit and recognition were no longer of
any consequence. For the first time in our lives, the things of God
were more important than the "Things of this world and the honors of

Our sensitivity deepened. We noticed how often we would cry. Several
times a day we would be brought to tears by a prayer, a talk, a
discussion, a scripture or almost anything would deeply touch us. Our
concern was continually focused upon others. For the first time, we
could understand Nephi's claim, "For I pray continually for them by
day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night." because of them. We
could understand the statement because for the first time we could
understand Nephi's motives.

The Holy Ghost became our constant companion because our motives had
changed, because we had an eye single to the glory of God, The Lord
could trust us and we experienced the power of the Priesthood and
became effective tools in his hands. 

So the benefit and the Purification thing that we did, and I was able to apply it as if we purify ourselves as missionaries than our heavenly father will purify our investigators and help them make the sacrifice to come to church with us so our church attendance would increase! Such a great district meeting it was! I loved it! 

After District meeting we had the opportunity to go to lunch with Hermano Guzman who is the Branch mission leader, and we kinda had a good little talk with him about how important it is for us to be able to fulfill our calling! It went really well, we have already seen a change in him, and how much he is helping us now. 

I also had the opportunity to take Elder Blaylock, a new missionary on his very first exchange of the mission! It was a lot of fun, he had no idea what was going on or anything, and it was great because the fact that it brought me back to when I was training Elder Dunlap! I was able to learn so much, and teach him a lot of things! We had to go to Benicia for the day! We had some sweet experiences teaching this new family that we found out in Benicia, Elder Blaylock did a great job teaching with me the entire restoration, and testifying of Jesus Christ! They even prayed at the end of the lesson to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God! He also had the time of his life giving his very first blessing in Spanish to Hermono Rabanales! He is such a great man! Worked in the temple in Guatemala and everything!  He just can’t make it to church because he has super bad health! 

Wednesday getting back with Elder Alcivar was great! What a great time we had all day, trying to see every single member that lives in our area! We are trying to help the Branch and let them know who lives where, and who doesn't live in other places! It was a lot of fun! As we were driving around trying to see people in the Magazine area, which is the most dangerous area in the mission, we saw a car wreck! It was super crazy, because everyone here says we are in a drought but I don't believe that after I saw a fire hydrant taken out, and just spewing water at full speed for a good 30 minutes before anyone showed up to stop it! There was a fire station right down the road too! Kinda crazy but good for everyone’s lawns right? They needed the free water, so that I can see green grass for once! Ha ha 

Thursday was definitely the roughest day of the week! We didn’t have any lessons, we had 5 set lessons, but they all fell through! Not really to sure why! However things were still a lot of fun! Elder Alcivar is probably my favorite companion I have had on the mission yet! He is like a real brother! 

Friday we had a wonderful session of weekly planning! It was good because we felt that we had a rough week because our plans were set forth to be on foot, then we got a car so all of our plans were messed up! However, we were able to set forth great plans for this week, and hope to see a lot of miracles from all the time we took to make such great plans! 

Saturday was probably the best day we had all week! And it all started off with treating ourselves to McDonald's for lunch! Elder Alcivar and I have started a new diet today so we can loose more weight, so we figured on Saturday we would eat like pigs! ha ha However, we started the day off with setting up for a members birthday and a lesson on Facebook! Which really got things rolling! From there on we taught 4 lessons that day! And Saturday night we were able to get free food from a taco truck, because a Georgia tech basketball player was there and he bought for us! His name was Johnny Barnes! He played along time ago and is now retired and living here in Benecia! 

Sunday was pretty kick back and relaxed! Sometimes I feel as missionaries we break the Sabbath day because we do work! However I don't really know! We had an interesting Sunday night meeting, there was a lot of talk about things that are going on in the zone and how we need to change things! 

Well Family and Friends, its been a little bit of a tough week, but a lot of growth has taken place with the experiences we’ve had! I appreciate all the Love and Support! Take care!

Love you all! 
Elder Parker (Spud) Albertson 

 Hey Dad will you buy this for me and you when we get home? Jk ha ha
Pretty sweet though Huh?
 I learned how to make Pupusas!
Fire Hydrant!!

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